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UN head calls COVID the ‘greatest crisis of our age’ as Spain enters state of emergency

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Madrid: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has announced a new state of emergency in an effort to curb soaring coronavirus infections as the head of the United Nations declared that “the COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest crisis of our age”.

France also registered a record 52,010 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, following a record 45,422 on Saturday, the health ministry said on Sunday, as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout Europe.

A tribute to medical workers in Madrid, Spain, where new restrictions have been introduced due to the spread of COVID-19.Credit:AP

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened an online session of the World Health Summit with a call for worldwide solidarity in the global crisis and demanded that developed countries support health systems in countries that are short of resources.

The coronavirus pandemic is the overarching theme of the summit, which originally had been scheduled for Berlin. Several of the leaders and experts who spoke at the opening stressed the need to cooperate across borders.

“No one is safe from COVID-19. No one is safe until we are all safe from it,” said German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. “Even those who conquer the virus within their own borders remain prisoners within these borders until it is conquered everywhere.”

More than 42 million have been infected with the virus and over 1 million people have died of COVID.

Spain's new measures began on Sunday night, local time, and require all regions except the Canary Islands to impose a nighttime curfew and limit the number of people allowed to meet to six.

"We are living in an extreme situation … it is the most serious health crisis in the last century," Prime Minister Sanchez told a news conference following a cabinet meeting.

Catalonia was one of the first regions on Sunday to use the new legislation to impose a curfew, which will take effect at 10pm. Establishments open to the public will have to close at 9pm.

Police were patrolling the city before the curfew took effect and locals welcomed the new rule.

"I believe that in a certain way a measure had to be taken because everything was getting a little out of control," said vocational training teacher Paula. "I think more measures will come, but it's a good start."

Other regions that announced curfews from Sunday night included Cantabria and La Rioja.

Spain imposed one of the toughest lockdowns early on in the pandemic and then relaxed curbs over the summer.

But like many other European countries it has seen a second wave hit in recent weeks, and now has one of the highest numbers of infections in Western Europe. Total cases rose to 1,046,132 on Friday, while the death toll is nearing 35,000.

The state of emergency will need parliamentary approval to last beyond 15 days. Sanchez asked for Parliament to approve its extension up to May 9.

A growing number of regions had been calling on the government to implement the measure.

The Madrid region had already limited the number of people who could meet inside homes to six, as well as banning the mixing of different households overnight.

Canary Islands vice president Roman Rodriguez tweeted he was "satisfied" the tourist hotspot had been excluded from the curfews but encouraged people not to let their guard down.

The islands hope to save their tourist season after the UK and Germany decided last week they were no longer a travel risk.

The decree will serve as a legal framework to implement a new warning system of levels, similar to the ones already applied in countries such as Germany and France.

According to the level of risk, travelling between regions could be banned if a regions decides, except for justified reasons such as working. Movement could also be restricted within regions in localised lockdowns.

Most of the regions are already above the parameters to be considered at the highest level of risk.

In France, the new cases took the total to 1,138,507, a total that now puts it ahead of Argentina and Spain to become the country with the world's fifth highest total, after the United States, India, Brazil and Russia.

The ministry said that 116 people had died from coronavirus infection over the past 24 hours, compared to from 137 on Saturday, taking the total to 34,761.

Reuters, AP

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Fake Covid marshals going door-to-door ‘checking for rule breaches’ then stealing from homes when let inside, cops warn

FAKE Covid marshals are knocking people's doors pretending to check for rule breaches and then stealing from homes once inside.

Police forces and Trading Standards have reported incidents on doorsteps where fraudsters have conned members of the public using the scam.

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This comes after fake healthcare workers offered bogus virus tests to get access to homes earlier in the pandemic.

But the marshals, officially called Covid-19 secure marshals, do not have the power to enforce social distancing, issue fines or the right to enter homes, experts said.

Officials have also said that the marshals will never come to your home unannounced.

Last month Bedfordshire Police issued a warning after two men tried to enter a property in Dunstable.

The suspects said they had been told by police to enter people's homes to check corona guidelines were being followed.

They said if the man refused he would be fined, but when the resident asked them for ID, which they could not produce, he refused to let them in and kept the security chain on the door.

One of the offenders stopped the door being closed with his foot, but left the scene after the man again refused to let them inside, police said.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has received reports of similar incidents involving people pretending to be marshals and medical professionals to get inside people's homes.

Katherine Hart, CTSI's lead officer for doorstep crime, said the pandemic-inspired crime wave could increase over winter.

She said: "These scams are shifting in their theme as the rules and regulations change with individuals now pretending to be Covid-19 secure marshals.

"Covid-19 secure marshals will never come to your door unannounced and do not have the right of entry or the right to issue fines.

"This type of scam appears in many forms, and I have also received information about individuals pretending to offer flu vaccinations on the door – a concerning development as we enter flu season.

"I am particularly concerned that elderly and vulnerable individuals may be at risk to this scam."

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Fake Covid marshals are stealing from homes, warn police

Fake Covid marshals are going door-to-door on hunt for rule breaches then steal from homes when let inside, warn police

  • Police forces and Trading Standards have warned fraudsters have new tactics
  • Fake Covid-19 marshals pretending to check for rule breaches before stealing 
  • Bedfordshire Police issued a warning after two men tried to enter a property 

Fake coronavirus mashals have been pretending to check for rule breaches and stealing from homes once they are let inside.

Police forces and Trading Standards warned fraudsters have been conning people by pretending they were told to enter people’s homes.

The tactic comes after con artists pretended to be healthcare workers offering bogus virus tests to get inside houses.

The mashals, called COVID-19 secure marshals, do not actually have any powers to enter people’s homes, enforce social distancing or issue fines.

Police forces and Trading Standards warned fraudsters have been conning people by pretending they were told to enter people’s homes. Pictured, a covid mashal in central London

Last month Bedfordshire Police issued a warning after two men tried to enter a property in Dunstable.

The fraudsters told the man he would be fined if he refused, but when the resident asked them for ID, which they could not produce, he refused to let them in and kept the security chain on the door.

One of the offenders stopped the door being closed with his foot, but left the scene after the man again refused to let them inside, police said.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has received reports of similar incidents involving people pretending to be COVID marshals and medical professionals to get inside people’s homes.

Katherine Hart, CTSI’s lead officer for doorstep crime, said that since lockdown began there have been a series of scams involving imposter marshals and that this could increase over winter.

Metrolink workers wore high vis jackets that urged social distancing in Manchester in July

She said: ‘Since March we have seen so many different instances of fraudsters using the pandemic as an opportunity to defraud the public.

‘These scams are shifting in their theme as the rules and regulations change with individuals now pretending to be COVID-19 secure marshals.

‘COVID-19 secure marshals will never come to your door unannounced and do not have the right of entry, or the right to issue fines.

‘This type of scam appears in many forms, and I have also received information about individuals pretending to offer flu vaccinations on the door – a concerning development as we enter flu season.

‘I am particularly concerned that elderly and vulnerable individuals may be at risk to this scam.

‘I ask the public and public authorities to spread the correct safeguarding information so that we can stop these unscrupulous individuals from ruining the lives of those already struggling during this challenging time.’ 

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France extends Covid lockdowns to 46million people and Germans panic buy as Europe’s cases DOUBLE in ten days

FRANCE has extended its lockdowns while panic-buying Germans have stripped shelves as European Covid cases double in just 10 days.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that an overnight coronavirus curfew would be extended to dozens more areas.

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He said: "The second wave is now underway."

France had a record 41,622 cases overnight as the second wave of the virus continues to take hold in Europe.

The French curfew, which runs from 9pm to 6am, will begin at midnight tonight and will affect around 46 million people.

Mr Castex said: "The coming weeks will be hard and the number of deaths will continue to rise.

"If we fail to stop the pandemic, we will be facing a dire situation and we will have to mull much tougher measures.

"We still have time to avoid that but we don't have much time."

The curfew will be in force in Paris and eight other cities including Marseille, Lyon, Lille and Toulouse.

They will be extended to 38 further areas as well as Polynesia.

The curfews will last for six weeks.

PANIC-BUYING SHOPPERS

Meanwhile in Germany, panic-buying shoppers have been hoarding essential supplies like toilet paper amid a rise in Covid cases.

Sales of disinfectant are also on the rise – prompting the German statistics office to warn that "hamster purchases" were beginning again for the first time since the pandemic started.

Toilet paper sales spiked by 89.9 per cent in the past week, while disinfectant sales were up 72.5 per cent and soap rose by 62.3 per cent.

Coronavirus case numbers have rose steadily in Germany in the past few weeks.

The country reported more than 10,000 new daily Covid-19 cases for the first time yesterday.




Across Europe, coronavirus cases have doubled in just 10 days.

The daily total of new cases for the continent passed 200,000 for the first time yesterday.

Europe first had 100,000 new daily cases on October 12.

France, Germany, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic were among the European nations to set daily records recently.

Europe now has more Covid cases per capita than the United States.

According to the World Health Organisation, Europe now has about half of the world's new cases – but this is in part due to an increase in testing.

Spain was the first Western European country to reach one million total cases, while France isn't far off with 999,043.

In the UK, another 21,242 people tested positive for coronavirus in the past 24 hours – a drop of 5,000 on Wednesday's highest-ever daily total.

Despite that, cases have risen 12 per cent week-on-week – with Wednesday seeing 26,688 positive tests.

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Trump, Biden tangle over COVID-19 in opening of final presidential debate

The coronavirus pandemic once again loomed large during the opening of the second and final presidential debate between President Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, serving as the opening question to the candidates.

The pair engaged in a spirited, but decidedly civil debate on the subject that served as a departure from last month’s first debate, which was rife with cross-talk and schoolyard insults.

“We closed up the greatest economy in the world in order to fight this horrible disease from China,” Trump said, fielding the first question from moderator and NBC News journalist Kristen Welker. “We’re fighting it, and we’re fighting it hard.”

Trump also said that a vaccine for the disease would be “announced within weeks,” but under further questioning from Welker admitted that was “not a guarantee.”

And Trump spoke of his own battle with the virus, which scuttled another debate scheduled between the two for last week.

“I can tell you from personal experience, I was in the hospital, I had it,” he said. “I was in for a short period of time, and I got better very fast, or I wouldn’t be here tonight.”

Biden, meanwhile, focused on the American death toll in his response, saying that America is set to endure “a dark winter.”

“Two hundred and twenty thousand Americans dead,” he said. “If you hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this. … Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America.

“He says we’re learning to live with it,” Biden added. “People are learning to die with it.”

Trump countered that America must reopen or wither.

“I want to open the schools. … I want to open our country. We’re not going to have a country,” he said. “The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.”

Biden said that he was not opposed to reopening, but that it was both possible and essential to do so safely.

“We ought to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” said Biden, adding sarcastically, “All you teachers out there, not that many of you are going to die, so don’t worry.”

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Covid graphs show how infection rate is FALLING in more areas across England than it was at start of October

FRESH Covid graphs show how infection rates are FALLING in more areas across England than it was at the start of October.

Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam showed the hopeful picture of a country which is starting to claw back some ground from the spread of coronavirus.

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Pictures of England for the week up to October 6 show huge parts of the country were overwhelmed by rising cases.

Almost all areas except for the South West had infection rates which were soaring.

But a fresh graph from the week up to October 14 show a very different picture.

Huge parts of England are dotted with light green showing cases have begun to fall.

Professor Van Tam said this evening: "In contrast, the rate of change is more variable and there are more patches of green – indicating a negative rate of change – as there are new patches of dark brown, such as in places like Lincolnshire."

Crucially, areas such as Lancaster turned from a dark brown to a lighter green, showing cases had begun to fall after it was thrown into a Tier 3 lockdown last week.

But the change might not be huge – the shading means the fall in infection rate is between 1 case and 21 cases.

Given the soaring infection rate in Lancashire is 447.9 cases per 100,000, the difference could only be marginal.

And the graph showing infection rates in different parts of the country show even more parts of England have turned dark purple – the highest band.

It shows the virus is spreading slowly but steadily south, as the Birmingham, which had lower infection rates last week, was swallowed up into the hardest hit areas.

And Professor Van Tam warned the number of coronavirus cases in the most vulnerable 65 and over age bracket had crept up.

He said: "It's pretty stark (cases in older age groups) have increased very markedly.

"And that's not just in the North East and North West, but in the East midland and Yorkshire and Humber as well."

Professor Van Tam said the the low infection rates in parts of the UK justified the Government's refusal to introduce a two week "circuit breaker" lockdown, similar to what has been done in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

He said: "Pretty much everywhere in England is now heating up to some extent.

"And we are trying to walk a very fine line between getting the virus under control where it is out of control and incurring minimum amount of economic damage in doing so.

"In areas where it is out of control, hard measures are needed.

"Do I think right now it is appropriate to insist on the same level for (areas where the incidence is low)? No, I don't."

Even more Brits will be plunged into a Tier 3 lockdown after Boris Johnson announced Greater Manchester would be given the highest Covid alert level.

It means another 2.3 million people will have to live under tough restrictions.

But Mr Johnson stressed the variable rates of coronavirus back the decision to focus on regional lockdowns.

He said: "Across the world the countries that are waging the mot successful fights against coronavirus are adopting regional and local measures to protect their populations."

 

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Jeff Daniels Uses Donald Trump’s COVID-19 Lies Against Him In New Song

Jeff Daniels has the “Trumpty Dumpty Blues.”

The “Newsroom” actor turns President Donald Trump’s lies about the coronavirus back on him in a song released in early October.

For months, Trump publicly misled the American people by downplaying the threat posed by COVID-19. In private, however, he acknowledged its danger. Audio of the president’s coronavirus falsehoods ― and just a few of the other more than 20,000 lies that he’s told since taking office ― sit alongside Daniels’ lyrics in the three-minute track below:

Daniels, who portrays former FBI Director James Comey in “The Comey Rule,” suggested last month that Democratic nominee Joe Biden figuratively punch Trump in the mouth during the presidential debates.

Last year, the actor predicted “the end of democracy” if Trump wins reelection.

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  • Constantly arguing with your partner about coronavirus risks? You are not alone.

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The two early COVID symptoms that may be ‘dark horses’ – signs you may be ignoring

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COVID-19 is an infectious disease that has been confirmed in almost 40 million people across the world, while more than one million have died from the virus. If you develop any of the key coronavirus symptoms, you should get tested for the infection straight away.

The UK has seen a rise in the number of coronavirus cases over the past few weeks.

A number of councils across the country have entered into ‘tier three’ restrictions, in a bid to cut the infection rate.

London and Essex joined ‘tier two’ restrictions last weekend as the number of cases have also continued to rise.

The two earliest warning signs of COVID-19 have now been revealed, and scientists have warned that you may not even realize that you’re at risk.

The “dark horses” of COVID symptoms include headaches and fatigue, according to the COVID Symptom Study app.

The two symptoms were the most commonly experienced symptoms in coronavirus patients across the UK.

Fewer than 10 percent of all patients, aged 18 to 65 years old, didn’t have either a headache or fatigue, they said.

While the ‘classic’ three symptoms are still absolutely crucial, it’s vital to look out for any unusual tiredness or headaches.

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“Our data shows that the most commonly experienced early symptoms are actually headache [82 percent] and fatigue [72 percent] – and this is the case for all age groups,” it said.

“Only nine percent of COVID-positive adults aged 18-65 didn’t experience headache or fatigue. Of course, headache and fatigue commonly occur in other conditions which is why they don’t trigger a test on their own.

“In fact, only one percent of people who reported fatigue and/or headache on our app ended up testing positive for COVID.

“So while headache and fatigue are commonly found in people who have COVID [alongside other symptoms], having either or both of those symptoms alone is unlikely to be indicative of COVID.”

Headaches and fatigue are both very common, and don’t necessarily mean that you have coronavirus.

Persistent tiredness could be caused by simply not getting enough sleep, or doing too much – or too little – exercise.

Headaches, meanwhile, may be linked to the common cold, stress, bad posture, and even taking too many painkillers.

Either way, your headaches or fatigue are more likely to be caused by coronavirus if it’s accompanied by any of the more common symptoms.

A high fever, a new cough, and a change to your sense of smell or taste are the most common early coronavirus symptoms.

In the UK, you should only get tested for the infection if you develop any of these symptoms.

Some patients have also reported a sore throat, headaches, and even hiccups, on top of the more common signs.

More than 42,000 people have died from coronavirus in the UK.

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Covid vaccines roll off Pfizer production line in image of hope for the world as jabs could be out by New Year

COVID vaccines that could be available by the New Year have been recorded rolling off the production line in an image of hope for the world.

The new footage shows the tiny bottles that could end the pandemic that has swept the globe – as drug giant Pfizer reveals it has already manufactured "several hundred thousand doses".

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Vials of the vaccine are being stockpiled at the plant in Puurs, Belgium – and they're ready to be rolled out internationally if clinical trials are a success, the Mail on Sunday reports.

Health watchdogs must first decide if the drug is safe and effective.

However, if it is, the US company hopes to make 100million doses available this year, of which a whopping 40m are destined for the UK.

By 2021, the company aims to manufacture 1.3billion jabs.

Every patient who receives the vaccine will need two doses.

In an interview with the paper, Pfizer UK boss Ben Osborn said: "It was great to see the first vial coming off the manufacturing line. 

"It just brought a tremendous smile to my face to see all of this work actually result in a product."

Pfizer, which is working with Germany's BioNTech, is currently running a trial on 44,000 people.



Last week, bosses said they will apply for emergency US approval of its vaccine in November. 

It comes in a weekend of cheering developments on the progression of a vaccine.

The NHS is preparing to launch a coronavirus vaccine shortly after Christmas, the deputy chief medical officer has revealed in private.

Thousands of NHS staff will be trained to give the Covid jab, which Jonathan Van-Tam says will cut infections and save lives.

Prof Van-Tam told MPs last week that stage three trials of the vaccine created at Oxford University and being manufactured by AstraZeneca mean a mass rollout could come as early as December, The Times reports.

In a briefing to MPs on Monday, he said: “We aren’t light years away from it.

"It isn’t a totally unrealistic suggestion that we could deploy a vaccine soon after Christmas.

"That would have a significant impact on hospital admissions and deaths.”

Coronavirus deaths rose by 150 yesterday in the UK's deadliest day since June 3.

A further 16,171 people have also tested positive for the disease in the third highest daily rise – bringing the total in Britain to 705,428.

The head of the Oxford Vaccine Group had a more sober take on the news last week, warning Brits may need to social distance and wear face masks until next summer.

Andrew Pollard said that, even if trials are successfully finished by the end of this year, the jab might not be ready until well into 2021.

He said: “Life won't be back to normal until summer at the earliest. We may need masks until July."


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Covid cops will be out in force tonight: Police warn Londoners

Covid cops will be out in force tonight: Police warn Londoners against having a boozy ‘blow out’ during final night of freedom before midnight lockdown… with officers set to patrol pubs for rule breakers over weekend

  • Metropolitan police officers will be out monitoring behaviour in London tonight ahead of move to Tier Two
  • The force said it was stepping up patrols in an effort to control drunken revellers on their last night of freedom
  • Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, Met’s lead for the Covid crisis, said officers would be on patrol
  • He said officers would be there to stop ‘dangerous and reckless breaches’ before the capital’s rules change
  • The capital will move to Tier Two coronavirus restrictions, for higher risk areas, from midnight tonight

Metropolitan Police has revealed the force is ramping up efforts to patrol pubs for ‘dangerous and reckless breaches’ and will stop any signs of a boozy ‘blow out’ tonight.

The warning comes on Londoners’ final night of freedom ahead of tighter restrictions preventing multiple households meeting for a drink in the pub when the capital is moved into Tier Two at midnight.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, the Met’s lead for the Covid-19 crisis, told the Evening Standard: ‘This is a critical moment in London’s fight against this deadly virus.’ More officers will take to the streets to put a stop to boozy gatherings that break the rule of six as well as to enforce the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants. 

Twist added: ‘Frustratingly, we have seen a small number of dangerous and reckless breaches of the regulations and as the alert level in London increases, we are adopting our policing approach. 

‘Communities across London can therefore expect to see an increase in our efforts to deal with the most deliberate, harmful and flagrant breaches of regulations.’

Meanwhile, London’s transport network could grind to a halt this weekend after mayor Sadiq Khan demanded a cash injection to keep it running. Khan was accused of ‘playing games’ today after claiming ministers are demanding he extends the congestion zone to get a £1billion bailout.

He faced fury over suggestions the government made the move a condition of the latest extraordinary cash injection to keep Transport for London from grinding to a halt, amid fears that could happen as early as this weekend.

Further anger has stemmed from data revealing Devon, Oxford and Coventry all have higher coronavirus infection rates than London but will face no lockdown rules when the capital moves into Tier Two tomorrow. 

Mayor Khan was accused of egging the Government on to toughen its stance in the capital. 

In other developments in the country’s coronavirus battle: 

  • Almost a third of England’s councils saw a drop in coronavirus infections last week amid calls for a second circuit-breaker lockdown and tightening restrictions across the country; 
  • SAGE member Professor Jeremy Farrar said the current base level of restrictions, which includes a 10pm curfew, were the ‘worst of all worlds’ as they inflicted economic damage while not going far enough to suppress the virus;
  • Another SAGE adviser has suggested that a series of ‘circuit breakers’ could be needed, planned around school holidays, to get the outbreak under control; 
  • Wales is preparing to defy the PM by bringing in its own ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown – as an ‘unenforceable’ travel ban on English people from coronavirus hotspots travelling to Wales comes takes effect tonight; 
  • London is in its last day before Tier Two restrictions come into force, meaning around nine million people will be banned from mixing with other households indoors;
  • Mr Raab said he took ‘very seriously’ allegations of a Russian disinformation campaign against the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, with pictures, memes and video clips depicting the British-made inoculation as dangerous.   

Officers monitor drinkers ahead of the final night before London is plunged into a Tier Two lockdown. Revelers donned coats as they sat outside pubs in Soho

People enjoy their drinks outside at a bar in Soho despite chilly temperatures because of the latest coronavirus rules in the capital of the UK

Further anger has stemmed from data revealing Devon, Oxford and Coventry all have higher coronavirus infection rates than London but will face no lockdown rules when the capital moves into Tier Two tomorrow. Pictured, a waiter brings customers’ their drinks in Soho

Metropolitan police officers are already out monitoring the behaviour of revellers enjoying an evening out in Soho 

People enjoy their drinks outside at a bar in Soho, in the West End of London on October 16, 2020, as new restrictions on social gatherings and movement are set to come into force

A group of six are served their drinks as they sit outside a bar in Soho, London, on the final night before restrictions are ramped up in the capital

Tables and chairs are set up ahead of an expected busy night of drinking before Londoners are limited to socialising only in their households if sitting inside venues

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, the Met’s lead for the Covid-19 crisis, told the Evening Standard : ‘This is a critical moment in London’s fight against this deadly virus.’ Pictured, police officers in Soho

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Khan yesterday confirmed a ban on people meeting in indoor spaces will begin at midnight tonight in the city. 

The tough social distancing rule mirrors what is in place in Covid hotspots in the North of England, where the country’s second wave is running rampant. 

But London’s infection rate is significantly lower than in those areas, and is below the average for the country as a whole, which is approximately 160 cases per 100,000. 

It is lower even than other areas that don’t have any extra rules at all, abiding only by social distancing and the rule of six, according to Department of Health statistics. 

While the 32 boroughs of London recorded an average of 99 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to October 10, the figure was 159 in Coventry and 154 in Oxford during the same period.

Not a single borough of London currently has an infection rate that high, with the 147 in Ealing the city’s highest. 

It stood at 146 per 100,000 in Bristol, in Bournemouth there were 139 cases per 100,000, in Bath 115 and in Devon – driven by an outbreak in the university city of Exeter, where the rate is nearly 400 – the average was 106. 

All those areas are in the South of England which is not facing any regional restrictions like the Midlands, North West and North East are, where some areas with lower infection rates are locked down to protect them from nearby outbreaks.

Revelers are brought to an outside table as a waiter asked them to give their details for Track and Trace. The decision to place London into a Tier Two lockdown today sparked fears around 200,000 people in the city’s centre could lose their jobs in hospitality this weekend

People gearing up for a busy night of drinking and eating in soho, London. The sale of outside heaters has skyrocketed as pub owners hope to turn their car parks into seating 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Khan yesterday confirmed a ban on people meeting in indoor spaces will begin at midnight tonight in the city. Pictured, people enjoying an evening out in Soho

A barmaid hands out wine glasses as a group sits down outside a pub in Soho to enjoy a few drinks before the lockdown rules are worsened in London

The entire of London may be heading into lockdown earlier than other areas – most of which have had significantly higher infection rates before facing new rules – because outbreaks can spread faster between boroughs because the population moves around so much.

The decision to place London into a Tier Two lockdown today sparked fears around 200,000 people in the city’s centre could lose their jobs in hospitality this weekend. An industry spokesman warned the drastic restrictions would see a ‘maximum squeeze on revenue and no support’. 

It comes as Lancashire heads into Tier 3 – meaning pubs and bars will be required to close with restaurants only allowed to serve customers who also order ‘substanial’ meals. The county has its last night of freedom before the rules are put in place at midnight.

Lancashire joins Liverpool as the only areas in the top bracket, which means a ban on household mixing indoors and in gardens. Thousands of venues are expected to be closed from midnight tonight, with casinos, betting shops and car boot sales given another 48 hours’ grace. 

The Department of Health said there would be a £12million support package in Lancashire as well as more money for an economic recovery ‘task force’ over the next six months. Local sources claimed in total it could be worth £30million. 

Meanwhile, sources close to Mr Khan said he was bravely resisting spreading the congestion zone to the North and South circulars, which would force up to three million citizens to pay £15 to use their cars. 

But senior Tories raged that actually the mayor went to the Treasury with a ‘begging bowl’. 

They said he was told he needed to find some savings to help balance the books after years of mismanagement. They insisted it was up to him how the money was found. 

It comes as Lancashire heads into Tier 3 – meaning pubs and bars will be required to close with restaurants only allowed to serve customers who also order ‘substanial’ meals. The county has its last night of freedom before the rules are put in place at midnight. Pictured, people having a drink on the promenade in Blackpool this evening

Lancashire joins Liverpool as the only areas in the top bracket, which means a ban on household mixing indoors and in gardens. Pictured, a barman serves drinks at a weatherspoons pub on the Blackpool promenade

A man wears a face mask against Covid-19 on the promenade in Blackpool, England. The Lancashire region will go into Tier 3 of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions from midnight

A senior Conservative source said: ‘The fact of the matter is that he has been presented with a list of options. He is welcome to come up with his own.

‘But he needs to say how he is going to make savings. Instead he is playing games in the media.’

They added: ‘We have said how are you going to do it, these are some of the things you can do. He needs to find some ways of saving some money.’

The government has extended its emergency funding of TfL by two weeks to give more time to resolve the bitter wrangling over the huge sums needed to keep the transport system afloat.  

The squabbling has been going on for months, with London Tory MPs increasingly frustrated about Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ refusal to take on the mayor’s dire threats in public. 

In May Mr Khan accepted a £1.6billion funding agreement with Government, which came with the condition of a hike in the congestion charge to £15. But he branded the injection a ‘sticking plaster’ and is calling for a £5.7billion long-term solution for the next 18 months. 

However, government sources say they are determined that Mr Khan will not get a free pass after ‘bankrupting’ TfL with mismanagement during his tenure. 

Tube and bus drivers have been warned that crucial transport services may stop running if the impasse is not broken over the coming days.  

TfL staff have been given a Section 114 warning, meaning that London’s transport system could cease to function as early as this weekend, according to LBC.

A City Hall source told MailOnline TfL cannot simply ‘turn London’s transport system off overnight’.

But former head of buses and surface transport at TfL Leon Daniels disagreed and warned services could be stopped in a worst-case scenario.

He told LBC: ‘As it would be with any business if you can’t pay your obligations, can’t pay for staff or contracts, can’t pay your energy bill then you have to bring it to a halt, and that’s the situation we’re in now.’ 

Both Government and the Mayor say they are working urgently to thrash out a solution, but are at loggerheads over the conditions.

A sign warns pedestrians to ‘maintain social distance’ because of the coronavirus pandemic in Blackpool. It comes as the region is put into Tier 3 restrictions from midnight

A woman wears a face mask as she walks past a display rack featuring Christmas jumpers in Blackpool ahead of its move to Tier 3 restrictions

Pedestrians wear face masks and shields as they walk along the Blackpool promenade. Very few people appeared to visit the coastline amid rising coronavirus cases

A single Budweiser bottle was left on an outside bench on the Central Pier in Blackpool earlier today. From tomorrow all pubs and bars will be forced to close

During the peak of the crisis TfL’s revenues dropped 95 per cent as people were instructed to work from home and footfall on carriages fell. It has risen slightly since lockdown was initially eased after the first wave, but today Mr Khan said passenger numbers will not return to pre-pandemic levels in the immediate future

A source close to Mr Khan told MailOnline: ‘Conditions such as extending a £15 congestion charge to the North and South Circular and taking free travel away from children and older people would be totally unacceptable to the Mayor and he would not ask Londoners to accept them in these exceptionally difficult times.’

Extending the congestion zone to the North and South Circular would hit the pockets of millions of Londoners, and has also come under fire from Conservatives. 

Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey said the only reason such revenue raising measures were being floated was because of financial mismanagement by City Hall.

Mr Bailey said: ‘Khan has near bankrupted TfL and hung a closed sign over London.’ 

What are ministers’ conditions for a £1bn TfL bailout? 

A source close to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has suggested the Government has set strict conditions in the event of any TfL bailout:

1. Expanding the congestion zone to the North and South circular. 

The current congestion zone is marked by the inner London ring road and covers central London, including the City and West End.

If expanded to the North and South Circular, it will affect millions more people. The North Circular between Chiswick and Woolwich, stretching as North as Barnet. The South Circular stretches almost as far South as Streatham. 

2. Taking away free travel for children and older people.

Currently children get free travel on London buses, while there is also a Freedom Pass for older people to get around the capital. 

 

He added: ‘Under no circumstances would I back an extension of the congestion charge zone, regardless of who proposes it… 

‘Any extension would hit hard working Londoners in the pocket and be a death knell for small businesses.’ 

Tory MP Bob Blackman told MailOnline: ‘He’s going with a begging bowl to the Treasury. He’s wanting £5.6billion to keep TfL running over the next months.

‘At which point, what? Is there a magic money tree? It is just ridiculous what he is asking for.’

TfL’s finances have long been of concern, with the DfT reportedly drafting in KPMG to audit their accounts. 

Mr Khan maintains that TfL’s financial woes are down to plummeting passenger numbers during the pandemic.

During the peak of the crisis TfL’s revenues dropped 95 per cent as people were instructed to work from home and footfall on carriages fell.

It has risen slightly since lockdown was initially eased after the first wave, but today Mr Khan said passenger numbers will not return to pre-pandemic levels in the immediate future.

He told LBC: ‘I said back in May the deal we had for six months will be a sticking plaster, we need a sustainable deal.

‘For the foreseeable future there will not be five million journeys on our Tube, five-and-a-half million on our buses.’ 

The Mayor added that the Government should not punish Londoners for ‘doing the right thing’ and avoiding public transport – especially when such conditions have not been imposed on private rail providers.

He said: ‘The facts are that the Government gave the privatised rail operators 18 months funding with no strings attached, but is saying to TfL we’ll give you a six-month deal with strings attached.’ 

Mr Khan’s spokesman urged ministers to recognise that ‘singling out Londoners for punishment is unacceptable and makes no economic sense’.

He added: ‘We continue to discuss the next emergency funding package with Government and fight for a fair deal for London.’ 

His opposition was echoed by head of roads policy for the RAC Nicolas Lyes, who said: ‘Expanding the Congestion Charge zone to the north and south circular areas would encompass a huge geographical area and would hit drivers and businesses hard in the pocket at the very worst time, with the pandemic severely impacting travel habits and finances. 

‘Drivers in London have already faced hikes in the existing Congestion Charge zone this year, as well as an increase in its hours of operation, so the introduction of further charges is totally unreasonable.’ 

Edmund King, AA president, said the furore over the congestion charge ‘blows away once and for all any pretence that the charge is related to environmental improvement or reducing congestion’. ‘It is simply a tax,’ he added.

‘It is highly ironic that this comes as many people are avoiding public transport due to Covid and some London boroughs have increased congestion with badly thought out road restrictions which are now causing a residents’ revolt.

‘Pushing through this excessive and socially regressive congestion tax which hits the poorest hardest will be a poll tax on wheels.’

Commuters wear face-masks during morning rush hour on the Victoria Line of the London Underground in central London today

Tube and bus passengers are rising, but Mr Khan said passenger numbers will not return to pre-pandemic levels in the immediate future

Coronavirus positive tests in London have increased dramatically since the beginning of September but changes in recent weeks suggest the rate of rise is slowing down, with a 37 per cent increase in the seven days to October 7, compared to the almost double 84 per cent in the third week of September

A TfL spokesman said: ‘We continue to discuss our immediate funding requirements with the Government and hope these discussions can be concluded successfully soon, so we can help London through this next phase of the pandemic.

‘We are doing what we can to minimise costs and aim to continue operating a full service across our network while our funding discussions continue.’

The Department for Transport refused to disclose the details of its funding offer but stressed that negotiations with the Mayor are underway. 

A DfT spokesperson said: ‘The Government continues to engage with Transport for London and the Mayor on the impacts of Covid-19 on TfL’s finances. 

‘These discussions are ongoing and will ensure London has a safe, reliable network while delivering a fair deal to UK taxpayers.

‘Discussions are underway, and it would be inappropriate to disclose further details at this stage.’ 

It comes as Department of Health statistics, released yesterday afternoon, show huge variations in infection rates within the capital, but all will face the same ‘high’ lockdown rules from midnight tonight.

Liverpool City Region is still the only part of the country in the toughest Tier Three restrictions, after cases surged 

In Ealing and Richmond upon Thames, for example, there were more than 140 cases per 100,000 people in the most recent week where data is available for – this is the standard way of measuring a place’s infection rate – while in Bexley the rate is just 69 per 100,000.

A third of English councils saw a FALL in coronavirus cases last week 

Almost a third of England’s councils saw a drop in coronavirus infections last week amid calls for a second circuit-breaker lockdown and tightening restrictions across the country.

As many as 41 out of 149 councils recorded a fall in their Covid-19 infection rates in the week ending October 11, according to Public Health England’s weekly surveillance report. For comparison, only two saw a dip last week.

And only eight registered a surge in cases of more than 50 per cent – more than 13 times less than the week before when 109 local authorities saw major spikes, suggesting the second wave may be slowing down.

The biggest dip was recorded in the city of Manchester – which the Government is threatening with a tier three lockdown – with a 22 per cent fall in infections from 557.8 to 433.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Southend-on-sea saw the second largest fall, with a 20.5 per cent dip from 42.6 to 33.9 cases per 100,000 people. Slough, outside London, came third with a 19 per cent drop in infections from 86.9 to 70.2 per 100,000.

But many areas still recorded rises in infections – although none saw rates double compared to the 52 areas that recorded this surge last week.

Matt Hancock’s department yesterday claimed cases in the city are ‘rising sharply’ but local politicians have hit out at the decision to tar the whole city with the same brush.

Bob Blackman, the Tory MP for Harrow in west London – where cases are at around 121 per 100,000 people and where 304 people were diagnosed in the week to October 10 – said yesterday: ‘[Sadiq Khan] is going to be standing for re-election saying I am the mayor who closed London and threw the jobs under the train.

‘I don’t see that as a great approach. He’s going to the Treasury with a begging bowl… It is ridiculous what he is asking for.

‘Andy Burnham [Mayor of Manchester] is trying to protect and preserve Manchester, and understandably so. Sadiq Khan seems to want to take London into Tier Three. I don’t know what the mad rush is to do it.’  

Bromley and Chislehurst MP Sir Bob Neill said the ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ for the capital was a mistake.

The senior Conservative told Sky News: ‘I think it’s a mistake. I think it’s disproportionate for the whole of London.

‘I can see some parts of London the test is met, but… there is a cluster of south-east and southern London boroughs where the rates are very much lower.’

Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond said he was surprised that the Tier 2 measures were being imposed across the capital.

‘Yes, London infections are rising but they are rising at different rates in different parts of London, different levels of hospitalisation,’ the senior Tory told BBC Radio 4’s World At One.

‘You are taking a very, very broad sweep and it’s not clear that the Government has actually made the case that there should be a complete London-wide lockdown.’

One expert told MailOnline that the reason the whole city was lumped together may be because people are so interconnected it is impossible to separate the boroughs.  

‘We face such huge challenges for fairness and equity when considering lockdown,’ Dr Ilan Kelman, an expert in health disasters at University College London said.

‘London is especially hard due to its size and large rate of mobility via public transport. We also now have university students moving between their dorms and universities, even though university-related infections have been occurring around the country. 

Hospital admissions in London increased 51 per cent in the fortnight between September 25 and October 9 – from an average 33 per day to 50 – which was half the rate of increase of the national measure for England

Deaths in London remain low at an average of four per day, compared to 60 daily across England as a whole. The measures, however, is always the last to rise and lags around a month behind infections

There are currently 77 patients on ventilators in intensive care in London, up from a low of 10 on August 7. For comparison, there are 135 ventilated patients in the North West, 116 in the North East and 468 across England as a whole

‘We are in a no-win situation with too many losing so much. What we can do is to be fair to each other and act to help as many as possible, no matter what the tiers or the local variations.’

Sadiq Khan had suggested earlier in the week that a case rate of 100 positive tests per 100,000 people per week would be a ‘trigger’ point for sending an area into a Tier Two lockdown.

But numerous areas of the country have a rate higher than this and remain in Tier One, while London has been thrust into Tier Two as a precautionary measure despite the rate not yet hitting that level.  

London Tube, train and bus staff are told to prepare for total shutdown of network THIS WEEKEND 

Londoners are braced for the capital’s transport system to grind to a halt this weekend as cash-strapped TfL burns through the last of its funding.

Eleventh-hour talks for a £1billion bailout between ministers and Sadiq Khan have stalled because of sticking points involving the Government’s conditions for a deal.

The Mayor is understood to be refusing to sign up to an expansion of the congestion zone to the North and South Circular in particular.

But rivals say he has been backed into a corner after ‘bankrupting’ TfL with mismanagement during his tenure in City Hall.

In May, Mr Khan was forced to hike the congestion charge to £15 as part of a £1.6billion funding agreement with Government.

As that money prepares to dry up tomorrow, Tube and bus drivers have been warned that crucial transport services may stop running if negotiations remain deadlocked.

It appears to be the first place in the country where a lockdown has been brought in before a local crisis rather than as a reaction to one, and is the first time an entire region has been swept up in one move.

Places with rates higher than 100 but no local lockdowns, according to the most recent Department of Health data, include: Exeter (397); Coventry (159) and surrounding parts of Warwickshire including Rugby, Warwick and Stratford-on-Avon; Oxford (154); North Lincolnshire (150); Bristol (146); Bath (115); Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (139); Windsor and Maidenhead (114) and East Hertfordshire (102).

Many of the areas are in the South West which has been the least affected part of the country so far during the epidemic, likely because it has so few cities and the population is spread more thinly over rural areas.

Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow in Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash are also being placed into the same Tier Two category from Saturday. All have higher infection rates than London, with rates above 100.

Under the new rules, household mixing will be strictly limited but offices and public transport can remain open, although the government’s general advice to work from home where possible stands. 

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith yesterday demanded to know whether London was being sacrificed to demonstrate the South was not being treated more leniently amid complaints from those in the North. 

Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham yesterday bemoaned that his city and the surrounding region were being treated like ‘canaries in the coalmine’ for the tougher local lockdown rules.

‘London is huge,’ Iain Duncan Smith said. ‘Whether people like it or not it is very diverse and each of the boroughs, many of them are bigger than most of the towns in the rest of the UK,’ he said in the Commons.

‘Surely we need to look again at the nature of this London-wide Tier Two position because there could even be regional areas that could be taken out, there are big disparities.

‘Please think again, otherwise, as one constituent has literally rang me today has said – is this in fact a London-wide Tier Two to stop the North/South divide argument running?’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock replied: ‘No, just on the last point, absolutely not. The decision has been taken on the basis of the data across London.

‘And we did consider the borough-by-borough approach that he understandably advocates, but the decision that we came to is because the cases are rising throughout the capital therefore it was right for the capital to move as a whole – and that was supported by the cross-party team who are working on this at a London level.’ 

London’s Tory Mayoral Candidate Shaun Bailey said: ‘Sadiq Khan’s constant calls for lockdowns are hugely irresponsible. It’s as if he wants people to focus on anything except his poor record as Mayor.

‘I back the government’s decision to put London into Tier 2. It’s a sensible move that may help us avoid a lockdown while keeping Londoners safe.

‘In the meantime, Sadiq Khan needs to stop governing by press release and start doing his job. That means reversing his congestion charge hike, sorting out his LTN schemes, and getting people safely back into central London.’

WHAT ARE THE THREE TIERS? 

TIER 1/MEDIUM

  • you must not socialise in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors 
  • certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am 
  • businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is a take-out service 
  • places of worship remain open, subject to the rule of 6
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees 
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, or indoors with the rule of 6

TIER 2/HIGH

  • you must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport 
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible 

TIER 3/VERY HIGH:  

  • you must not socialise with anybody you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park 
  • pubs and bars must close and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals 
  • places of worship remain open, but household mixing is not permitted  
  • weddings (but not receptions) and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees 
  • you should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very-high alert level area

Can I still meet friends in a pub garden? Should I cancel half-term trip to Cornwall? Your questions answered as Londoners are plunged into Tier 2 lockdown with parts of Essex, Surrey, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Derbyshire

By Mark Duell for MailOnline

Nine million people in London are set to face tougher coronavirus restrictions banning households mixing indoors – including in pubs – from 0.01am on Saturday.

And London is not the only area which will be hit with the Government’s second-harshest lockdown level at midnight tomorrow. 

Residents in Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash will also have the new restrictions imposed on them. 

Tier 2 rules includes a ban on meeting socially with friends and family indoors and weddings will be limited to 15 and funerals to 30. 

Gyms, shops, schools, universities and churches will stay open.

You can find out the current alert level in your area with the Government’s postcode checker by clicking here, but note it may change this weekend.

Here, MailOnline looks at what it will mean for all regions under Tier 2 lockdown from Saturday:

Can I still go to my friends’ house on Thursday or Friday night?

Yes. Friday will be the last day when you can visit a friend’s house for now, but you must ensure no more than six people gather – and you leave before midnight.

Can I have my friends over from Saturday?

No. People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.

Can I see my friends inside a pub or a restaurant?

No. You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. 

This includes private homes, and any other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants. 

Can I meet my friends in a pub garden?

Yes. You can gather in groups of six outside at venues which are following Covid-secure guidance, including pubs, restaurants, shops, leisure and entertainment venues and places of worship.

At least one person in the group should give their contact details to the venue or check in using the official NHS Covid-19 app so NHS Test and Trace can contact you if needed.

Drinkers outside a pub in Westminster last month. You will only be allowed to have a drink with friends from a different household at the pub outdoors from Saturday – and not indoors

Can I see friends outside?

Yes. You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with (or have not formed a support bubble with) outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space. 

When you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than six. 

Do children count in the ‘rule of six’ outdoors?

Yes. This limit of six for meeting people outdoors includes children of any age.

Can I still meet inside with people from my support bubble?

Yes. You will still count as one household who can meet together indoors or outdoors.

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. 

Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together. 

Informal childcare can also be provided via childcare bubbles (see below).

Is the support bubble affected by London changing tier?

No. Your support bubble is still valid despite London going into a higher tier, so you can continue to function as one household. 

Can my friends visit if they are from outside London?

No. If you live in a ‘tier two’ area you also cannot meet indoors with people from outside of the area, unless exceptions apply (see final question below). 

Can I go to stay at a hotel or Airbnb home within London? 

Yes. You can still travel within high alert level areas to hotels and other guest accommodation, but you should only do this with people in your household or support bubble.

You can only stay in a private home – which includes self-catered accommodation such as holiday cottages, apartments or boats – with members of your own household or support bubble.

You can stay in a hotel or similar accommodation (for example, a hostel or bed and breakfast) with another household.

However you should avoid sharing rooms with people you do not live with or otherwise socialising indoors, for example in each other’s rooms, in reception areas, or in restaurants and bars.

Can I still go on holiday outside London?

Yes, with exceptions. You can still go on holiday outside of high alert level areas, but you must only do this with people in your household or support bubble.

Can I still go on holiday to Wales? 

Probably not. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford is proposing a travel ban on visits to Wales by people living in areas of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland with high levels of Covid-19 from Friday. 

He said police in Wales could use number plate technology to catch people from UK coronavirus hotspots who illegally enter the country. 

Can I still go on holiday to a tier three area like Liverpool?

No. You should avoid travelling to any part of the country subject to very high local Covid alert levels.

Can I still move home or look at a house in London?

Yes. You can still move home. Estate and letting agents and removals firms can also continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings. 

Do I have to end my current holiday outside London if it’s with another household?

No. At the time that the new local restrictions are brought in, if you are currently on holiday with another household outside London, but are from London, and are staying in a private home and it is not reasonable for you to curtail your stay, you should finish your holiday as planned. 

The Government advises that until the end of this holiday you should ‘make every effort to reduce socialising indoors outside of your household and follow local regulations and guidance’.

Can I still use public transport?

Yes, but with restrictions. The Government says you may continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, for work, voluntary, charitable or youth services, or to access education, but you should ‘aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible’. 

If you need to travel, the Government encourages people to walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel. 

People wearing face masks pass by market stalls at Covent Garden in Central London today

Do the tier two rules follow me if I travel outside my area? 

Yes. The rules are based on the highest tier level out of a) where you live and b) where you are visiting. 

Therefore, if you live in London, you must abide by London’s rules wherever you go.

But if you are from a tier one area and are visiting London, you must abide by the rules for London.

Can I visit my parents in an area outside of London?

Yes. However you must follow the rules applying to where you live, so you would have to meet them outside and ensure there is not a group of more than six people.

Can I still commute into London if I live in a tier one region outside the capital? 

Yes. The Government says people can continue to travel into a high alert area for work, but should ‘aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible’.

Are the exceptions to the rule of six for children? 

Yes. There are exceptions from legal gatherings limits for registered childcare, education or training, and supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups. 

This means you can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders, after-school clubs and nannies. 

Who can provide childcare support in private homes and gardens?

Registered childcare providers including nannies, people in your support bubble or people in your childcare bubble.

What is the definition of a childcare bubble? 

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. 

For any given childcare bubble, this must always be between the same two households.

Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare. 

Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so. 

Can I meet with a household from another flat inside the property where I live? 

No. The Government’s definition of a household is one person living alone, or a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address who share cooking facilities and share a living room, sitting room or dining area. 

A household can consist of a single family, more than one family or no families in the case of a group of unrelated people. 

Therefore people who live in different self-contained flats cannot meet with each other.

Can I visit my grandparent in a care home?

No, with exceptions. You should not visit a care home except in exceptional circumstances, for example to visit an individual who is at the end of their life. 

Will shops still be open?

Yes. Non-essential retail as well as essential stores will remain open for customers.

Will I be fined if I am caught having a meeting in a group that is illegal? 

Yes. Meeting in larger groups is against the law, although there are certain exceptions (see final question). 

The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups, which includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fixed penalty notice fines.

You can be fined £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. 

If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

The newly married Lucy and James Bone after their wedding at St Michael and all Angels Church in Ingram, Northumberland, on July 4 – the that weddings were once again permitted

Can I attend a wedding? 

Yes, with restrictions. Up to a maximum of 15 people can attend weddings or equivalent ceremonies and receptions where the organiser has carried out a risk assessment and ‘taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus’. 

But receptions should be sit down meals to ensure people can keep their distance from each other, and must not take place in private homes. 

Can I attend a funeral? 

Yes, with restrictions. Up to a maximum of 30 people can attend a funeral. Wakes and other commemorative events are permitted with up to 15 people present, but these cannot take place in private dwellings. 

Where food or drink is consumed, this should be in the form of a sit down meal. 

Anyone working at a wedding, civil partnership ceremony, reception, wake or funeral is not generally counted as part of the limit. 

People living outside of London in a tier one area can travel to the capital to attend an event, but they must not meet with another household indoors. 

Can I still go to church?

Yes. You can still attend places of worship for a service in London. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble.   

Can I attend an indoor exercise class? 

Yes, with restrictions. Indoor exercise classes and other activity groups can only continue provided that households or support bubbles do not mix. Where it is likely that groups will mix, these activities must not go ahead. 

There are exceptions to enable disability and youth sport and physical activity indoors, in any number.

Can I still take place in sports activities outdoors?

Yes. In line with guidelines from national sporting bodies, you can take part in sport and physical activity outdoors.

Can I still have a street party?

Yes, but as long as it is outside and no more six people gather, following Covid restrictions. 

Can a tradesperson come into my house? 

Yes. A tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the rules if they are there for work.  

What if I am clinically vulnerable?

The Government advises that those aged 70 or over, pregnant women or those with an underlying health condition can go outside as much as they like but ‘should still try to keep your overall social interactions low’.

Should I share a car with someone from outside my household?

No, in most cases. The Government says it is difficult to socially distance during car journeys and transmission of coronavirus can occur in this context. 

So you should avoid travelling with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing. 

Does the 10pm curfew still apply to pubs and restaurants?

Yes. Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are still required to close between 10pm and 5am. 

Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through. Orders must be made via phone, online or by post. 

A group of women carry their drinks in London’s Soho after the 10pm curfew began last month

Are hospitality venues at motorway services still exempt from the curfew? 

Yes. Hospitality venues in ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas do not need to close at 10pm, but must not serve alcohol after that time.  

Can I still go to work in the office?

Yes, with exceptions. The Government advises that ‘office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter’. 

It adds: ‘Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so.’

Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary.

The Government also says that ‘anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work’. 

Those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable can go to work as long as the workplace is Covid-secure, but should still work from home wherever possible.

Can I still go to school or college?

Yes. The Government says it has ‘prioritised ensuring all children can attend school safely, to support their wellbeing and education and help working parents and guardians’.

Can I still go to university? 

Yes. Universities have welcomed students back and students are allowed to move home and travel to go there.

However those in tier two areas must not move backward and forward between their permanent home and term time address during term time – subject to limited exemptions.

Students living at their university term time address in a high alert level area should follow the same guidance on meeting other people and travel as others in that area. 

Pupils wear protective face masks on the first day back to school at Outwood Academy Adwick in Doncaster on September 2 as schools in England reopened to pupils following the lockdown

Can I commute into London or another high alert level area to go to university?

Yes. Commuter students – defined as those who live at a family home and travel to/from university each day – should be able to continue to travel to/from their university as required, for education purposes.

However, you must not meet people you do not live with in their home inside the area, unless they’re in your household, childcare or support bubble

You can also not host people you do not live with in your home, if they live in the affected area, unless they’re in your childcare or support bubble

You must also not meet people you do not live with in their student halls, whether inside or outside of the area, unless they’re in your childcare or support bubble.

If you move out of, or currently live outside of, an affected area you should not host people you do not live with in your home or student halls if they live in a high alert level area, unless they’re in your household, support bubble or childcare bubble.

Will Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph go ahead?

Yes, with restrictions. Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph on November 8 will take place but will be closed to the public.

Crowds will not be allowed to go to the service and will be asked to mark the day at home. The usual Royal British Legion march past has also been cancelled.

It is expected that members of the Royal Family and dignitaries will still attend to lay wreaths to remember the fallen. 

What are the exceptions on people from different households gathering?  

  • in a legally permitted support bubble or childcare bubble
  • for work, volunteering to provide voluntary or charitable services
  • for registered childcare, education or training
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • for supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after school childcare), youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups
  • for birth partners
  • to see someone who is dying
  • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable
  • to facilitate a house move
  • for elite sportspeople and their coaches if necessary for competition and training, as well as parents or guardians if they are a child
  • for outdoor exercise and dance classes, organised outdoor sport, and licensed outdoor physical activity
  • indoor organised team sports for disabled people, and youth sport
  • support groups of up to 15 participants – formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support (not to take place in private dwellings)
  • protests – if organised in compliance with Covid-secure guidance

How long will the rules be in place?

The Government must review which areas are subjected to the rules at least once every 14 days, with the first due to be carried out by October 28.

The restrictions themselves must be reviewed every 28 days, with the first due to be carried out by November 11. The rules themselves expire in six months. 

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